Survey: Consumers’ online fraud concerns rise this holiday season

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
A majority of consumers are concerned with being victimized by fraud when shopping online this holiday season.

Consumers are more accepting of security measures when it comes to online shopping and have higher overall expectations for the experience.

More than half (54%) of consumers are concerned with being victimized by fraud this holiday season—a 17% increase from last year, according to TransUnion’s 2022 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report.  In addition, consumer fears of fraud have intensified, with one-third saying they are more concerned than last year, compared to only one in four consumers who felt that way in 2021.

With fraud concerns heightening, 60% of consumers said they have a positive view of additional identity verification measures at checkout with online retailers — up 20% since last year. Conversely, when consumers were asked for the top reasons they would abandon their online cart, compared to 2021, 72% more selected “fraud concerns” while 40% more selected “not enough security on the site.” Twenty-six percent said shipping costs.

“Increases in consumer fears about fraud and desires for security were a recurring theme in this year’s holiday shopping report,” said Cecilia Seiden, VP of TransUnion’s retail business. “We also found consumers increasingly expect online retailers to deliver safe and seamless shopping experiences as they have less patience for errors and inconvenience.”

When asked to rate the importance of certain elements of shopping on a mobile device, the highest-rated feature was two-factor authentication (e.g. receiving a one-time security code via text), with 80% of consumers indicating it was moderately or very important.

This year’s survey also found a 53% increase in the number of consumers who said having their personal information pre-filled at checkout is ‘’very important.” There was also an 18% decrease in the number who said this feature is “not important.”

Spending Intention
The survey also found 26% of consumers plan to spend more this year. This represents a 44% increase from last year and a record high since TransUnion first launched its Consumer Holiday Shopping Report in 2018.

This trend was more pronounced among younger consumers, with nearly half (44%) of millennials and Gen Z consumers planning to spend more this year. In addition to inflation, a possible explanation for this might be an increased feeling of enthusiasm for holiday shopping.

When asked how they feel about holiday shopping this year, 23% of all consumers said they feel more enthusiastic. Again, this trended higher with younger consumers, with 37% of Gen Z and 43% of millennials indicating they feel more enthusiastic this year.

The top reason for consumers feeling more enthusiastic was being in a better financial position, while the top reason for feeling less enthusiastic was not having enough money to buy the gifts they want to give.

The one exception to these findings was among Gen Z and Baby Boomer consumers, who said the reason they feel more enthusiastic for holiday shopping was from wanting to get back to normalcy.

When asked how much of their holiday shopping would be online, 31% of Baby Boomers said they would do minimal or no online shopping this year. This is a more than double increase from last year and likely due to a desire for normalcy after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to adopt online shopping, the report noted.

“Despite documented concerns over inflation and possible recession, consumers appear to be very excited for this year’s holiday shopping season,” said Mark Rose, senior director of TransUnion’s retail business. “While some consumers may end up spending more on their holiday shopping simply because of higher costs for many goods and services, there’s good evidence that consumer optimism is intact. This is a result of increased incomes and a continued strong employment picture.”

The 2022 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report was conducted August 11-18, 2022 by TransUnion in partnership with third-party research provider. Dynata. Some 3,000 U.S adults 18 years of age and older were surveyed using an online research panel method across a combination of desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

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